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A huge stainless steel sculpture weighing half a tonne has been installed in an Islington park in celebration of the artist who created it.

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Owen’s Field in Goswell Road, Finsbury, is now the permanent home of Edgerunner – the work of Romanian-born Paul Neagu, who lived and worked in Jackson Road, Holloway, from 1970 until his death in 2004.

The installation, which was lowered by crane into place last week, has been gifted to Islington by Neagu’s estate, his brother Tony and the Romanian Cultural Institute, and becomes the first permanent sculpture by a Romanian artist to be installed in London.

Neagu is considered to be one of the finest Romanian sculptors in history and he had a major influence on the multi-award winning Anish Kapoor whom he taught at Hornsey College of Art.

He has also inspired various contemporary British sculptors including Antony Gormley and Tony Cragg.

Dorian Branea, director of the Romanian Cultural Institute London, said: “This is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate Paul Neagu’s work as a bridge between the Romanian and British cultures. We are excited to install his first permanent sculpture in London – a gift from Romania to the people of Islington in the Olympic year.”

Iolanda Costide, a trustee of the Paul Neagu Estate, said: “It will be fascinating for any passer-by to suddenly catch sight of Paul Neagu’s iconic sculpture, and through it discover the mystery of his particular sculptural language.

“This installation is a fitting homage to his contribution to the British art scene.”

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, added: “I’m delighted to welcome this significant sculpture to Islington, where Paul Neagu lived and worked for so many years.

“Edgerunner is a major new addition to Islington’s long and rich artistic history, and will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for generations to come.”

Edgerunner was formally unveiled at a reception attended by the Romanian Ambassador to London and other dignitaries on Wednesday.

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